Canadian tourists targeted: Car theft spirals into deadly police ambush in Zacatecas

Deadly ambush in Zacatecas unfolds amid vehicle theft investigation, resulting in cop's death, injured officers, and arrests of criminal cell members.

The Mexican state of Zacatecas is one of the most violent places in the country, where the population is plagued by organized crime and law enforcement. In a recent confrontation, a commando killed a policeman and wounded four others in Cuauhtemoc.

It all began when a report of vehicle theft was received. An armed group stole a luxury car from two Canadian citizens, stealing two other units from motorists driving on a highway in the region.

As a result of these violent events, members of the State Police and Municipal Police carried out an operation to recover the stolen vehicles. Still, they were ambushed by the alleged thieves in the community of Corralitos, in the neighboring municipality of Genaro Codina, triggering a confrontation, according to the weekly Proceso.

The exchange of bullets resulted in the death of municipal policeman Luis Antonio García de la Riva. Also, it caused four state police officers to be wounded, none of them seriously, according to the Mesa Estatal de Construcción de Paz (State Peace-Building Committee).

Versions indicate that two state police officers were wounded in the confrontation while two others were traveling in a derailed patrol car. One also had gunshot wounds, and the other only had bruises from the vehicular accident.

It was also reported that when the police officers were on their way to attend to the robbery report, they were intercepted by Canadian citizens who had been robbed of their car. One of the patrol cars decided to shelter the victims and take them to the municipality of Genaro Codina. At the same time, the state immigration authorities were notified so that they could help them.

As the criminals had escaped, agents from the Zacatecas Immediate Reaction Force (FRIZ) of the State Police and members of the Mexican Army and the National Guard reinforced the operations deployed in the municipalities of Cuauhtémoc and Genaro Codina to find the whereabouts of the armed group.

The agents’ efforts bore fruit; the State Peace Building Committee reported that four people were arrested: Brian Ulises, 21 years old; Miguel Ángel, 29 years old; Esteban Alberto, 27 years old, and a minor, all from the state of Durango.

It was also announced that the investigation disintegrated a criminal cell, seizure of weapons, and dismantled five camps used by criminal groups.

According to El Universal newspaper, 11 long arms, 2,614 cartridges, 32 magazines, tactical equipment, and metallic stars known as “ponchallantas” were seized from the detainees.